BLOG ROUND-UP: Prop 1 storage projects, A progressive water policy for San Joaquin Valley, Improving urban water conservation, weather whiplash, listening to communities, and more …

Salton Sea (2013), photo by Oliver Dodd

blog-round-up-previous-editionsBackroom deals:  “Just last October the San Jose Mercury News reported that the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board “made the most courageous decision in its history…when it stood up to direct pressure from Gov. Jerry Brown and rejected his $17 billion plan to build two, 35-mile long, four-story tall tunnels.”  That was last October.  Last Friday the Mercury News reported  “In a dramatic reversal of its stance just six months ago, Silicon Valley’s largest water district has scheduled a vote Wednesday on a plan to commit up to $650 million to Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial proposal to build two massive tunnels.”  So what happened? … ”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Backroom deals

Temp Flat Reality: If you want to fight for Temperance Flat you better make a career out of it: Families Protecting the Valley writes, “Temp Flat was never going to happen. The fix was in before these California Water Commission hearings ever started, even before the election that passed Prop 1 in 2014. The first clue was the endorsement of Prop 1 by the NRDC(Natural Resources Defense Council) in October before the election where they told anyone who cared to listen that “Prop 1 is not earmarked for new dams. Critics cite concerns about funding for surface and groundwater storage, but this simply isn’t the case. Even the Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, and other newspapers have noted as much in their editorials endorsing Prop 1.” Some of the people fighting for Temperance Flat knew this but decided to fight for it anyway hoping they could convince the Water Commission to do otherwise in their appeals. We now know how that worked.
”  Read more from Families Protecting the Valley here:  Temp Flat Reality: If you want to fight for Temperance Flat you better make a career out of it

A progressive water policy for the Central Valley:  On the Public Record writes, “A reader sent this to me. This seems like a nice way to celebrate a big setback for Temperance Flats dam.”  Find out more from On the Public Record here: A progressive water policy for the Central Valley

Improving urban water conservation in California:  Erik Porse writes, “The relatively dry 2017-18 winter in California resurfaced recent memories of drought conservation mandates. From 2013-16, urban water utilities complied with voluntary, then mandatory, water use limits as part of Executive Order B-37-16. Urban water utilities met a statewide 25% conservation target (24.9%), helping the state weather severe drought. Winter rains in 2016-17 led to a reprieve from mandatory conservation. Freed from statewide requirements, urban water agencies ended mandatory cutbacks by meeting “stress tests” that included several years of secured water supplies. … ”  Read more from the California Water Blog here:  Improving urban water conservation in California

How “weather whiplash” could change California:  Lori Pottinger writes, “First came the drought, then the floods: California has long bounced between the two weather extremes―most recently when the latest drought segued into 2017’s record-breaking rain and snow. Such “weather whiplash” could become much more common as the climate changes, according to a new study. We talked to Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA—and the study’s lead author—about what to expect.  PPIC: California already has a highly variable climate. How will this be different?  Daniel Swain: There will be much bigger swings between wet and dry years. We project a 25–100% increase in extreme swings in this century. On top of that we’ll probably see some changes in seasonality. While it will still be dry in summer and wet in winter, spring is likely to become considerably drier in most of the state, especially in the south. This will have big consequences for things like the snowpack and wildfire risk. … ”  Read more from the PPIC Blog here:  How “weather whiplash” could change California

Listening to communities: A bottom-up approach to water planning in California:  “Valerie Olson, assistant professor, and Emily Brooks, post-doctoral researcher, are environmental anthropologists at UC Irvine. They have a new project aimed at getting a better understanding of how communities, particularly the underserved, think about and use their water, and how the agencies that provide water can better serve them.  Question: Can you talk a bit about how your project working with underserved communities and how they use water came about?  Our partners at the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) wanted to find new, more holistic ways of understanding both the strengths and needs of communities in the watershed. The watershed is facing challenges ensuring there is water for everyone in one of the fastest growing areas of the state. We started working with Dr. Mike Antos, Senior Watershed Manager, on a planning process informed by ethnography, which is a common research practice in anthropology. ... ”  Read more from The Confluence blog here:  Listening to communities: A bottom-up approach to water planning in California

Sacramento River salmon passage projects:  Tom Cannon writes, “Several years ago I wrote a post on the loss of fish in the Sacramento River floodplain. Last year marked the completion of the Knights Landing Outfall Gates (KLOG) and Wallace Weir screening projects that will hopefully keep adult salmon from entering the Colusa Basin Drain. In the coming years, the Fremont Weir Passage Facility will allow adult salmon to escape the Yolo Bypass back to the Sacramento River. That is progress, but there is more to do.  We now need to focus on the Sutter Bypass and Butte Basin to the east of the Sacramento River. … ”  Read more from the California Fisheries Blog here:  Sacramento River salmon passage projects

Yuba County groundwater basin remains healthy:  Alex Boesch writes, “Protecting and enhancing Yuba County’s groundwater aquifer is one of Yuba County Water Agency’s foremost priorities.  Through careful stewardship of groundwater resources and the supplementation of surface water to correct previous over-drafting, Yuba County’s groundwater basin has recovered to historic levels and continues to remain within that range.  Using surface water supplies from New Bullards Bar Reservoir has led to the restoration of a sustainable aquifer, which is vitally important because groundwater is the sole source of municipal water for 80 percent of Yuba County’s population. … ”  Read more from the Northern California Water Association blog here:  Yuba County groundwater basin remains healthy

What happens if we have another dry year on the Colorado River?  John Fleck writes, “One of the big problems caused by the current breakdown in Colorado River diplomacy is the danger it poses if we have another bad year on the Colorado River.  A new Bureau of Reclamation analysis puts some numbers to the fear – a credible risk that Lake Mead could drop to elevation 1,062 by the end of 2019, just 20 short months away.  This nice chart put together by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, part of Met’s Water Supply Conditions Report (pdf), nicely illustrates what’s been going on in recent years: … ”  Read more from the Inkstain blog here:  What happens if we have another dry year on the Colorado River?

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About the Blog Round-up: The Blog Round-up is a weekly journey through the wild and varied tapestry of blog commentary, incorporating the good, the bad, the ugly, and sometimes just plain bizarre viewpoints existing on the internet. Viewpoints expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily my own; inclusion of items here does not imply my endorsement of their positions. Items are chosen to express a wide range of viewpoints, and are added at the editor’s discretion. While posts with obvious factual errors are excluded, please note that no attempt is made on my part to verify or fact check the information bloggers present, so caveat emptor – let the buyer beware.

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